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Generalized Movement Strategies for Constrained Consumers: Ignoring Fitness Can Be Adaptive

Theodore E. Galanthay and Samuel M. Flaxman
The American Naturalist
Vol. 179, No. 4 (April 2012), pp. 475-489
DOI: 10.1086/664625
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/664625
Page Count: 15
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Generalized Movement Strategies for Constrained Consumers: Ignoring Fitness Can Be Adaptive
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Abstract

AbstractMovements made by real organisms—such as movements involved in dispersal, migration, and habitat selection—are expected to occasionally be suboptimal because of realistic constraints imposed by incomplete information, perceptual limitations, and stochasticity. Previous theory considering such constraints has shown that movements appropriately conditioned on habitat or resource characteristics can balance out suboptimal components of movement and thereby lead organisms to ideal free distributions and fitness maxima, whereas movements conditioned on fitness differentials cannot. These findings suggest a somewhat paradoxical hypothesis: even if organisms have information about their fitness, movement strategies that maximize fitness may be conditioned on something other than fitness per se. We test this hypothesis by investigating the evolutionary stability of generalized, conditional movement strategies that vary in their use of information on fitness versus information on habitat characteristics. We show that when costs of sensory machinery are included, natural selection should favor movement strategies that completely ignore fitness information. Finally, we synthesize previous work by showing how several previous important theoretical results for adaptive movement strategies are united under our one general model.

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